UCL Careers
  • Welcome

    The UCL Careers team use this Blog to share their ‘news and views’ about careers with you. You will find snippets about a whole range of career related issues, news from recruiters and links to interesting articles in the media.

    If you are a researcher, we a specific blog for you.

    We hope you enjoy reading the Blog and will be inspired to tell us your views.

    If you want to suggest things that students and graduates might find helpful, please let us know – we want to hear from you.

    Karen Barnard – Head of UCL Careers

    UCL Careers is part of The Careers Group, University of London

  • Accurate at the time of publication
  • UCL Careers Tags

  • A A A

    “Is it okay to have little white lies on my CV?”

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 11 November 2013

    Everyone lies on their CV don’t they (guys? Guys?). I’m not talking massive great lies like Dennis O’Riordan’s, who audaciously faked a stint at Harvard and a doctorate, but little lies, like “I am a highly motivated and enthusiastic employee.” Or bumping up your A-levels a grade or two. Or saying you have A-Levels. You know, minor stuff. (‘Everyone lies on their CV – but an Oxford doctorate is an addition too far’, The Guardian, 10 Oct 2013)

    With all sorts of pressures that come with applying for highly sought-after internships or graduate jobs, many students feel that they need to enhance certain details in their CVs for that little bit of competitive edge over the next student-applicant. You might think you can get away with a bit of exaggeration here and a little tiny bit of fakery there, but there should really be no argument about this – DON’T lie on your CV!

    Despite lacking the necessary experience, students still feel that they should list desired skills on their CVs anyway and hope that employers won’t check up on these minor details. The CV is not a document for you to make up abilities that you think you should demonstrate to the employer, but rather, it should list factual details about bona fide experiences and skills you have already gained thus far.

    The falsifications that students are guilty of range from minor embellishments to very serious and potentially career-damaging lies. As tempting as it is to write on your CV that you have ‘excellent leadership skills’ – especially when the extent of your leadership activity was being responsible for just sending one email to your two other project team-mates to organise a meeting, you need to be honest with yourself and the skills that you do (or don’t) possess. Employers will have the means to test your claims and they will find out the truth one way or another.

    Here are two real examples of applicants being caught out by the little white lies on their CVs:

    ‘Languages: French (fluent), German (intermediate), Mandarin (intermediate)’

    Student X stated on his CV that he speaks various languages, particularly French with some level of fluency. However, the last time he spoke French was when he was doing his A-levels where he got an A grade, and that was 4 years ago. He got through to the interview at the company he applied to, and half-way through the interview, he got the shock of his life when one of the interviewers started to ask questions in French – ‘since your CV says you speak French’. Oops.

    ‘Jul 2011 – Sep 2011: Summer internship at Xingutao Commercial Bank, Jiakou Province, China’

    Student Y  was applying for an IT job in finance, but had no experience in finance at all. Worried that his CV might go to the ‘Reject’ pile because of that, he thought it would be smart to fake some work experience in a small bank in an obscure part of China, thinking that the UK employers would not bother looking it up. They obviously did, and his application was rejected anyway.

    While the risks from these two examples seem rather straightforward and obvious, students may think minor tweaks might go unnoticed. Soraya Pugh, head of graduate at FreshMinds Talent, says that lying on a CV is ‘never a good idea, not only because you could get found out but because a lack of skills or experience will become apparent once you are in the role’ (‘Will you be found out if you lie on your CV?’, Guardian, 22 Jun 2012).

    To spell this out in even clearer terms: lying on your CV can land you in prison, as it constitutes a criminal offense under the Fraud Act 2006. See http://graduatefog.co.uk/2010/1071/lying-cv-illegal-graduate-jobs/.

    If you are unsure of what you have written on your CV, or need help enhancing your CV (the legitimate way!), make an appointment with one of our Applications Advisors.

    International Students : October 2012 Events

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 30 September 2012

    UCL Careers Service aims to support international students throughout the entire career management process, from understanding the UK graduate labour market to writing CV’s, interviewing and beyond. 

    With the Autumn term having started, we offer a series of careers events specifically designed to address the needs of international students considering work or post-graduate study in the UK and overseas.

    To book onto any of these sessions, please log in to your My Careers Service account.

    —–

    Monday 1st October 2012, 1-2pm

    De-mystifying the UK Job Market

    An introduction to finding a job in the UK through a variety of different routes.  We will look at how to find job openings including graduate training schemes, examine other strategic approaches to job-hunting and look at cultural differences in the recruitment process.  We will also provide a term-by-term ‘job-success’ planner so you won’t miss important application deadlines.

    Learning Outcomes:

    • Understand the UK job market including the different ways for graduates to access it.
    • Provide information on current market using data from previous UCL graduates and an employer’s perspective.
    • Form a strategic approach to job hunting in the UK using different approaches such as networking, online tools and speculative applications
    • Understand the recruitment cycle in the UK.

     —–

    Monday 8th October 2012, 1-2pm

    Working while you study and CV’s for part-time work

    This one hour talk offers advice on how to combine earning money with effective studying, the legal requirements for working in the UK, information about the range of jobs that you might be able to do and where to look for part-time jobs.  We’ll then look at how a CV for part-time work should be structured.

    Learning Outcomes:

    • Understand the importance of having UK work experience on a CV for finding post study work in a global job market.
    • Outline and signpost legal requirements for working part time while studying, including visa and tax issues.
    • Explore different types of part-time work in the UK and sources to find jobs.
    • Develop an awareness of the structure and content of typical UK CV’s, for part-time work and how to translate previous experiences to a style that future employers will understand.

     —–

    Monday 8th October 2012, 5-6pm

    Effective Job Applications

    This seminar gives advice on how to effectively communicate your relevant skills to employers and provides key strategies to better stand out through the entire UK application process.  Discover how to build a sound argument that you have what the employer is looking for and learn how best to communicate that argument in your job applications

    Learning Outcomes:

    • Gain insight into UK employers or educational institution’s perspective and an overview of the application process.
    • Understand how best to structure a UK CV and covering letter, and its key components
    • Consider how best to explain your experiences in a way UK employers will understand their value and see how they match their job descriptions.
    • Understand how best to answer competency (or other) questions on an application form and complete a personal statement.

     —–

    Tuesday 9th October 2012, 1-2pm

    Employer presentation – working in China for Mars

    This session is presented by Mars representatives to help Chinese students understand the opportunities open to them within the large international organisation of Mars.

    Learning Outcomes:

    • Understand the graduate programmes available from Mars
    • Gain insights into working for a large multi-national company in China both as a graduate and beyond
    • Learn how the Mars recruitment programme works, including tips on completing the application forms and the assessment centre
    • Hear real life accounts of working for Mars from a recent graduate

     —–

    Monday 15th October 2012 1-2pm

    Writing a UK CV

    How can you make sure that your CV impresses an employer?  If you’re applying for jobs in the UK, an excellent CV is critical to your success.  This seminar gives advice on putting together an effective CV and formatting a powerful cover letter for the competitive UK market.  We will give you an insight into what UK employers are looking for, and point out common CV-writing mistakes.

    Learning outcomes:

    • Develop an awareness of the structure and content of typical UK CV’s, cover / motivation letters and application forms.
    • Understand how to translate skills, experience and personal qualities gained through academic and other experiences to a recruiter.
    • Explore techniques used in UK application processes, including reading job advertisements, analysing CV’s and tailor CV’s to specific recruiters.
    • Articulate positively and convincingly your reasons for applying for specific jobs based in the UK.

     ——

    Monday 22nd October 2012 5-6pm

    De-mystifying the UK Job Market

    An introduction to finding a job in the UK through a variety of different routes.  We will look at how to find job openings including graduate training schemes, examine other strategic approaches to job-hunting and look at cultural differences in the recruitment process.  We will also provide a term-by-term ‘job-success’ planner so you won’t miss important application deadlines.

    Learning Outcomes:

    • Understand the UK job market including the different ways for graduates to access it.
    • Provide information on current market using data from previous UCL graduates and an employer’s perspective.
    • Form a strategic approach to job hunting in the UK using different approaches such as networking, online tools and speculative applications
    • Understand the recruitment cycle in the UK.

     —–

    Monday 29th October 2012 1-2pm

    Effective Job Applications

    This seminar gives advice on how to effectively communicate your relevant skills to employers and provides key strategies to better stand out through the entire UK application process.  Discover how to build a sound argument that you have what the employer is looking for and learn how best to communicate that argument in your job applications

    Learning Outcomes:

    • Gain insight into UK employers or educational institution’s perspective and an overview of the application process.
    • Understand how best to structure a UK CV and covering letter, and its key components
    • Consider how best to explain your experiences in a way UK employers will understand their value and see how they match their job descriptions.
    • Understand how best to answer competency (or other) questions on an application form and complete a personal statement.

    —–

    For further information please visit: http://bit.ly/SrBODx

    Welcome!

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 4 October 2011

    Welcome to all new International students and welcome back to all of our returners!  I hope you had a great holiday and are ready to be busy this Autumn term.

    To help you on your way the UCL careers service has a jam-packed programme over the next few weeks including our specialized International programme, the Masters Quickfix events, 7 fantastic fairs, loads of employer events and some great skills for work forums.  Don’t miss out as many of the events you will need to book for so get familiar with your “My Careers Service” account.

    Next week our talk topic is Application Forms where you can get a better understanding of what an employer wants you to write when your applying for job.  To find our more information, or to book, please visit the International Students Programme page at the careers service website.

    All the best for this Autumn term everyone, and remember, we’re here if you need us – all you have to do is call for a one-to-one appointment!